The family of slain Judge Henry Arles yesterday welcomed the Supreme Court order transferring the hearing of the case against the suspects in his murder, from the Kabankalan Regional Trial Court to Quezon City, saying it will help even the playing field.
Philip Arles, the son of the Kabankalan RTC judge who was killed in an ambush in Brgy. Manalad, Ilog, on April 24, 2012, said yesterday that they received the SC resolution dated June 9 on Friday.
The transfer of the case will make it more difficult for witnesses in the murder case to be threatened, he said.
“ We believe that the transfer of venue will be favorable both to the complainants and the accused. We will have a more even playing field in Metro Manila than in Negros Occidental. There will be less pressure on the witnesses, on the prosecutors and on the judges,” lawyer Frank Britanico, brother-in-law of the slain judge, said.
Ma. Estelita “Ria” Arles, daughter of the judge, also said the transfer of the case to Quezon City will mean their witnesses will be safer and less likely to be intimidated.
The SC said it ordered the transfer of the case based on a petition filed by Philip Arles on June 2, 2013, requesting the change of venue of Criminal Case 2013-5986 to Metro Manila, it appearing that three of the accused admitted that they are members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade and implicated former Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez, former Negros Occidental Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez and Cauayan Vice Mayor Jerry Tabujara as masterminds behind the killing.
The Department of Justice last year dismissed the complaints for murder against the Alvarezes and Tabujara. Arles said his family filed a motion for reconsideration to that ruling but lamented that until now, the DOJ has not acted on it.
Arles, in his petition for transfer of the murder case, said that, considering that “influential political personalities have been implicated in the case, the possibility that undue influence may be employed upon persons officially tasked by law to prosecute or hear the case, including the prosecution witnesses.”
Arles said that of the seven accused, only three are detained -- Jessie Daguia, Alejandro Capunong and Eddie Fortunado of the RPA-ABB.
He complained that four of the accused - Marvin Salve, Gerald Tabujara and Rustom Puro, also members of the RPA-ABB, as well as Ilog municipal government employee Emmanuel Medes, are still at large.* CPG
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